Signed Print

Damien Hirst

Etching, 2009
Signed Print Edition of 59
H 130cm x W 127cm

Critical Review

The Sanctum series is indicative of Hirst’s obsession with butterflies and every print uses hundreds of butterfly wings to form its beautiful pattern. For Hirst, the butterfly is a ‘universal trigger’ that many people share in finding attractive and joyous. Recalling someone once saying to him: “Butterflies are beautiful, but it’s a shame they have disgusting hairy bodies in the middle,” Hirst in works like this chose only to display the dazzling wings in Altar.

Reminiscent of stained glass windows in Gothic architecture and the circular patterns of mandalas, Altar is representative of Hirst’s broad range of artistic inspiration. The use of the butterfly differs from earlier iterations of the motif in installations such as In and Out of Love from 1991. Using only the butterfly wings, Hirst removes the idealised image of the butterfly from the real insect, notably arranging the wings into an aesthetic composition.